Today is June 15th. Half way through the official-unofficial Transit Month. Although our family didn’t shift from cars to transit recently, it has provided an opportunity to pull a bit of data and check in on some personal statistics, especially around our own car ownership costs vs. use.
But first: an overview. Until Spring of 2014 we owned just our Jeep Grand Cherokee, as I (Katherine) almost exclusively used transit to get around during the day. Husband worked in Bellevue and made the commute to his out-of-the-office-much-of-the-day job across the 520 bridge. Car required. If I needed a vehicle mid-day, I used Car2Go, or the bus if I wasn’t in a hurry.
After our second child was born last April, the pressure became too great on me as I balanced (still do) daycare schlepping and other activities with working here in a home office while visiting clients in Downtown Seattle. Enter our 2-year lease on a 2014 Prius.
The scenario shifted quite a bit when, in fall of last year, husband moved to a job in Downtown Seattle and no longer made the 520 bridge commute. Said job pays for a bus pass! Husband discovers bus is simpler, just as convenient (we’re two blocks from an express stop) and certainly quick. Husband is convinced. Family is happy.
Fast-forward to today. Here’s a head-to-head dollar match up, estimated as best I can, of our costs of owning both cars so far this month vs. how much we’re actually using them:
A few notes on methodology: We’re going to assume each gas tank was filled at the start of the month. My trips were largely in-city, with just one into Downtown and one to Kirkland so far. Husband drives to the Eastside and back once a week during the summer, which adds up. Because it’s after work and it’s a “car conflict” for us, an alternative might include using Uber, UberX or a taxi. That’s a post for another day…
Husband also took the Jeep to the South Sound, but could have taken the Prius. Since we’re having so much fun, let’s pretend he did, shift those numbers and take another look:
So, that could have saved our family another five bucks. Hey, a beer! (not while driving, of course.)
For our purposes, more data might be useful to get into the nitty-gritty. Given the information above, a mile in the Jeep is $3.76 while a mile in the Prius is $3.47. A quick glance also shows how we could bring costs down quite a bit by shifting as many trips to the Prius as possible. Shifting that one trip, as suggested above, would flesh out costs at $5.76 per mile in the Jeep but just $2.04 per mile in the Prius.
So the answer is… take the Prius!
How do your costs stack up? Is it time to consider how useful that second car really is?